Members of the Madison-Ridgeland Rotary Club likely have a new appreciation of Jackson State University after listening to JSU President Carolyn W. Meyers list the university’s numerous accomplishments.
The university’s College of Science, Engineering and Technology has produced more meteorologists than any other school in Mississippi and the university ranks No. 2 in educating African-American teachers in the nation.
Those are just a few of the JSU facts Meyers shared with the club during a luncheon Thursday at Huntington’s Grille.
“We believe in making a difference throughout this city and this state. We take seriously what we do. Our core business is academics,” Meyers said.
Meyers also discussed the university’s plan for a 50,000-seat domed stadium, a scholarship that provides an iPad to every incoming freshman and the development of a retail store that will sell Apple products.
Meyers’ speech left many of the club members “astounded,” said Shelia Jackson, president of the Madison-Rotary Club.
“I think a lot of people’s light bulbs went off, especially about the domed stadium. It’s going to have a positive economic impact on the whole state,” Jackson said.
Jackson also applauded JSU for its Madison campus, which is set to open this summer.
“It adds a venue to continue to help and promote people in the area,” Jackson said.
Meyers – who’s been a member of the rotary club in every place she’s lived – said she was thankful for the opportunity to address the members. She also talked about how impressed she is with JSU’s students. She said the students often expound on local and national politics and other pressing issues of today.
“They know so much and think so deeply,” Meyers said. “They come to us with big dreams and hopes. It’s up to us to enable the realization of those dreams.”
Meyers said the iPad Technology Advantage Scholarship Initiative “is the largest program in the nation in which a computer is directly tied to the curriculum.”
“This is such a different world. We know more about how people learn than we’ve ever known before. It means we have to teach differently. Jackson State University is not afraid of change,” Meyers said.
Meyers said representatives of Apple would arrive at JSU next week as part of plans for a retail store on campus to sell the company’s products.
Meyers also explained how the stadium would be an economic resource for the entire state. She said big-name artists and entertainers, such as Justin Bieber, would never consider Mississippi for a concert because there’s no venue large enough. The proposed domed stadium would be a “game changer” for the state, she said.
Jackson said many of the members weren’t aware that JSU had such a collaboration with Apple. Jackson said she’d heard some details about the iPad initiative in the media.
“We did not know how it worked. We didn’t know the students cannot download material that’s not part of the curriculum and couldn’t play games. I think that’s wonderful,” said Jackson, who received her degree in Business Administration from JSU in 1997. “I think everybody came out of this event enlightened.”
Jackson said the Madison-Ridgeland Rotary Club is involved in activities that have the purpose of giving back to the community, particularly when it comes to education. Her organization provides dictionaries to all third-graders in the Madison-Ridgeland area. The club also partners with another organization on clothing and food drives.
“Our whole mission is to give back,” Jackson said.